The Grill-Meister and I love wedge salads. You know, the traditional steakhouse-style that unapologetically showcases iceberg lettuce and blue (bleu) cheese, with ample garnishes of bright red tomato and crunchy bacon?
One version that we really liked (from a steakhouse, of course) added balsamic vinegar syrup. Yeah, baby! That addition took the wedge up to a whole ‘nother level. It is really simple to make a balsamic syrup – or rather, a balsamic reduction sauce, to use proper cooking terminology. All you have to do is use twice as much as you want to end up with and cook it in a saucepan, low and slow, ’til it reduces by half. But not longer, or else you’ll end up with balsamic caramel candy. (I know this from personal experience.) Some recipes will tell you to add brown sugar or some nonsense like that – don’t believe ’em! There is plenty of sugar in vinegar already.
We’re kind of picky, and don’t really like the iceberg lettuce to be a big ol’ single wedge. It looks great, but once you slice into it, there is a lot more lettuce than goodies and you end up wishing you could have more of everything but the lettuce. There just isn’t enough surface space for yummies add-ons with the traditional big wedge. So we split the wedge and arrange them side by side in the salad bowl, waiting to accept all of the lovely goodness this traditional salad has to offer. Photos are at the bottom of the post.
We had ribeyes recently, and what goes better with a ribeye than a wedge salad? Am I right? Here is our take on it, the wedgeless wedge.
Glover Gardens Wedgeless Wedge Salad for 2
- 1/2 head of iceberg lettuce, trimmed and cut into quarters
- 2 thick slices of red onion, cut in half and separated
- 12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (preferably several colors)
- 4 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
- blue cheese dressing (purchased or homemade; I used this recipe from Epicurious.com – ingredients below)
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise (“lite” is ok, homemade is better if you have it on hand)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled (1 cup)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chives (or green onion tops)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk (or more; this dressing is pretty thick)
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Put the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and cook on medium low for 20 minutes or more until thickened and reduced by half. Set aside. If you are making the dressing yourself, combine all of the ingredients and whisk until smooth.
Arrange the lettuce in two salad bowls so that it covers the whole surface. Distribute the tomato halves, and then arrange slivers of the red onion in a pinwheel (see below). Put a big dollop of the dressing in the middle of each salad, then drizzle the balsamic reduction around the edge of the salad bowl (don’t be stingy with it).
Sprinkle the bacon, green onions and blue cheese crumbles atop the salad, then add a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Serve immediately.
We served the wedgeless wedge alongside grilled ribeyes, but they could truly be main course salads. You could add grilled chicken, shrimp or even tofu to amp up the protein.
© 2018 Glover Gardens